8 – 9 June: Enjoying a little piece of paradise with friends

Author: Mrs A

Location: Loro Piceno, Le Marche, Italy

Saturday: It was a dusty start to the morning after a fun Friday night out with Mel and Barney in Loro Piceno, with delicious food followed by dancing to a live band on the cobbled streets.

Exploring the streets of Loro Piceno
May explain the sore head on Saturday morning…Varnelli – similar to ouzo…
Fabulous cover band at La Taverna, singing a wide variety of songs in English

Mel had booked a haircut for me in a local village, and with none of the staff speaking English I was pleased Google Translate worked well enough for me to get the cut I wanted and not end up with a shaved head!

Our friends from the UK arrived early afternoon, successfully finding the house and enjoying a light lunch as we all caught up on news.

In the evening Mel and Barney had booked us a table at a local restaurant, Casa Azzurra. It is set around a pretty courtyard, with delicious food and wine.

Pink Prosecco to commence the evening
Enjoying our aperitif
Casa Azzurra

Sunday: The eight of us piled in to two cars and headed up to Mount Sibillini National Park, a hour’s drive away. It was a warm day, around 35 degrees in the valley, but as we climbed we were relieved as the temperature dropped to the late 20s.

Our first stop was at Lago di Fiastra (Lake Fiastra), the main reservoir for the region. The turquoise waters look quite striking, surrounded by mountains and beaches. There were quite a few people swimming in the water and picnicking on the shore.

John enjoying the view in a field of wildflowers
Karen, Mel and Stuart enjoying the view

Many of the buildings in this area are still damaged from the two major earthquakes in 2016. On the winding road up the mountains there was extensive evidence of work done to shore up the cliffs and prevent rockfalls and landslides, and many buildings remained abandoned, shored up by steel cables and wooden braces.

Church and buildings unsuitable for occupation post earthquake

We continued a short way up the mountains to Rifugio di Tribbio, a lovely rustic restaurant Mel and Barney had found. What a gem! There’s no way you would stumble across this as a casual visitor without the local knowledge. There we feasted on three generous courses and two litres of wine for the grand cost of about €160 between the eight of us (AU$33/£18 a head). We sat outside on a bench table with great views across the mountains.

Views of the nearby ruins of Magalotti castle

After lunch we wound our way up the mountains even further, found a shady parking spot and headed off for a walk. It’s a glorious time of year in the mountains, with wildflowers in every corner.

Wild peonies (Paeonia officinalis) growing on a limestone slope
Every square metre is covered in flowers – pinks, mauves, purples, yellows…so pretty
Lovely orchids
Wild Narcissus (Narcissus poeticus)

We did a lovely circuit walk – steep on the way up and blissfully downhill on the return loop, helping us burn a few lunchtime calories and enjoy the clean mountain air.

Wondering whether the last glass of wine was wise!
The walkers – minus Barney – L-R Mrs A, Mr A, Catriona, John, Stuart, Karen and Mel
Looking back at the lowlands which look rather hilly when you’re down there!

We drove back down the mountains and into Loro Piceno for an evening cocktail at La Cantina, a bar with a terrace boasting amazing views over the valley and out towards Mel and Barney’s house. We then headed home for an early night in preparation for celebrating Catriona’s big birthday tomorrow, the reason for this gathering of friends.

Enjoying the views and drinks
Catriona tries out a swing chair
Karen and Catriona try out their first Aperol Spritz
Beers for the boys – Stuart
John

4 Replies to “8 – 9 June: Enjoying a little piece of paradise with friends”

  1. What a fabulous time you are having ! It’s still raining here! Has been all week! We are busy planning our trip to Canada and the states later this year.

  2. Hi Catherine & Mark,
    Great to see you’re having a fantastic trip – I think it must be hard to go too far wrong in Italy!
    Cheers,
    David

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